The biggest thing that I noticed when I arrived in Portugal is how slow things happen...
I started a small business and had to continuously chase up a textile manufacturing quote I had requested - it was like they did not want my business. After 3 months of waiting for my quote and asking where it was I got fed up and finally responded to a company in Peru who wanted to quote me. Within 24 hours I had my price.
Then when I told the Portuguese company I wasn't going to wait any longer, they changed and desperately wanted me to reconsider. I told them where to go 🙂
However, on dealings with a completely different company for textile manufacturing, I found them to be efficient, reliable and courteous. So perhaps it comes down to the individual.
Another funny story is a couple of weeks ago I went into the SEF office to ask for some information. The place was completely empty except for the 4 ladies behind the counter.
I asked if any of them spoke English and no one did (a bit odd for an office for foreigners). So in my best Portuguese, I asked for the information I was after. They told me they could not answer my questions and that I had to go to the website or call one of the two phone numbers they gave me.
I go to the site and the information I needed wasn't there, so I called the phone numbers only to get an answering machine telling me to go to the website!
Anyhow, not too sure why there were 4 people working if they weren't there to serve customers and answer questions. It is just the way it is in Portugal.